11 Sept 2006
Motifs(HKTDC Fashion - Fabrics & Accessories, Vol 01,2007)
|Europe and the US are the two major markets for A & K Co's fashion accessories such as these sequined and beaded motifs|
Consumer tastes can and do vary from market to market, but designs that add a touch of colour and glamour to an outfit never go out of style.
Whether in the US with its craving for simpler designs, or Europe and Asia where the demand is for more complex motifs in smaller quantities, Hong Kong manufacturers continually rise to the challenge.
A & K Co director Ken Li, for one, finds his European buyers are more stylish than their US counterparts. "Our customer in Italy wants us to work closely with his designer, who comes twice a year and we cooperate to come up with new ideas," he observes.
Buyers from the UK and the US, however, want Li and his team to come up with designs and send them samples. "Italy is more fashionable and is at least a year ahead of other markets like the UK or the US," he notes, adding that the US actually prefers older styles than the Europeans. "But they order huge quantities and they need it cheap because they have to be careful about price."
He adds that beaded motifs and trimmings are currently the most popular, while natural colours like light brown and plainer colours dominate the market.
Typical of A & K's latest offerings are a plastic beaded motif, a corsage and a frog that add a light-hearted flavour to both young and old fashions.
The 16-year-old company utilises two factories in Panyu and Chaozhou on the Chinese mainland, which employ 30-50 and 30 workers respectively.
A & K does not require minimum orders, except on small sample orders, and can deliver 2-3 weeks after order confirmation. "FOB Hong Kong is available, with prices ranging from US$0.10-0.80 per piece per style," Li adds.
Elite Step Ltd general manager Bonnie Wong agrees with Li that Europeans look for more sophisticated, complicated designs, while the US seek simple, cheap designs because they are selling in volume.
She points to her company's latest collection, which includes iron-on washing labels, pearls and heat transfers as well as rhinestone flocking motifs.
"Rhinestones may not be the trendiest item, but people are asking for them," she notes. "Studs, which give a more metallic look, and colourful heat transfer screen print items are also popular."
Four-year-old Elite Step has a 40,000-square-foot, ISO 9001-certified factory in Shenzhen on the mainland that employs 80 workers. "Next year we will be moving into a new 80,000-square-foot factory in Shenzhen," Wong advises.
She says the minimum order is 100 sheets for screen print items or 1,000 sheets for offset prints, but explains that minimum orders actually depend on the complexity and size of the design.
FOB Hong Kong is available but depends on the size of the order, which has to exceed US$3,000 in value. "We can deliver 10-14 days after order confirmation," Wong says.
Skyking Creations Ltd marketing manager Wendy Cheung maintains that top fashion designers dictate motif styles, and says the current trend is towards handmade beaded motifs and metallic colours.
"Right now all the embroidery and beading patterns are popular," she claims. "Our customers are asking for silver and gold colours but metallic ones are becoming more popular."
Her firm's catalogue includes such perennial favourites as embroidered princess, sweetheart, sheep, rabbit and lion motifs that appeal to the young at heart.
The seven-year-old company's 18,000-square-foot, 150-200-worker factory in Shenzhen produces around 500,000 items a month, for sale in the UK, France, Italy and the US.
Skyking requires a minimum order of 2,000 pieces, and delivers 14-30 days after order confirmation. "Prices range from US$0.30-2.00 per piece per style FOB Hong Kong," Cheung adds.
Man Cheong (Chong's) Development & Trading Co managing director Chong Man Yee also notices differences between the markets in Europe, Asia and North America.
"Some countries like Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Hong Kong develop up-to-date designs, while US and Canadian buyers stay with old-fashioned items for years," Chong says.
According to Chong, Man Cheong's best-selling item is the Chinese knob cufflink while natural materials such as hemp and cotton in natural colours are popular and will "probably" continue so in 2007.
The 16-year-old company's 70,000-square-foot factory in Jin Jiang City on the mainland employs more than 1,000 workers, who produce some 1,000 handmade Chinese buttons, bead buttons, crocheted flower bead patches, trimming and other accessories a month.
Typical of Man Cheong's creations are grape, butterfly and cherry bead sequin patches; cotton and bead flower and cotton crocheted flower motifs; and cotton stitched and embroidery patches.
"We don't require a minimum order," Chong adds. "Delivery is normally 2-3 weeks after order confirmation, while a big order might take up to four weeks."
No matter what the style - old or new, complex or simple - Hong Kong motif manufacturers are dedicated to delivering dynamic designs that delight buyers worldwide.
Written By Sharmila Gopinath
A & K Co
912-4 Cheung Sha Wan Rd
Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon
Man Cheong (Chong's) Development & Trading Co
9/F, Tai Lee Mansion
165-167 Pei Ho St
Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
Skyking Creations Ltd
Unit 1322, 13/F, Blk B
Hi-Tech Ind Centre
491-501 Castle Peak Rd
Tsuen Wan, New Territories